Watching Painfully

As my daughter cried, I could only speak softly to try to soothe her.  She was 2 months premature, and any touch caused her pain.  Tears of helplessness streamed down my face as I fought to control my voice while talking to her, fearing that she wouldn’t make it through the day.  I stayed by her side, watching painfully.  As my father lay on his deathbed, his screams of anguish resonated through my body.  I wanted to recoil from the presence of his pain, and at the same time I was drawn in to try and comfort him.  He was unaware of the attempts made to ease his turmoil.  I stayed by his side, watching painfully.  After my husband received a terminal diagnosis and was sent home to die peacefully, I could not find the words to comfort him.  He had already been struggling for months, wasting away to a shell of the strong man I had known.  With each of his labored breaths, I found myself holding my own breathe in anticipation of it being his last.  I stayed by his side, watching painfully.

My daughter and her sister are now happy 7 year olds, healthy and full of laughter.  Over the course of 2 years that were filled with difficulty and heartache, my husband was restored to health.  My father passed away that morning, and remained in turmoil until his final breath.  Each of those moments, and many more, were shrouded with helplessness … hopelessness.  Over and over through each of those moments I searched for inner strength.  Each time it eluded me.  I was not the author of my circumstances, I had no authority to write the ending.  My role was to experience the moments regardless of the pain, praying that my presence would bring a sense of comfort and support.  Ultimately, the only one who could do anything in those moments was God.

I sometimes forget in the daily routine that there isn’t any situation I will experience that will catch Him off-guard.  Even on the road to the cross, Jesus remained in control, unwavering in the midst of chaos.

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace.“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

John 19:8-11

While on the cross, He was stripped naked, even his undergarment being rewarded to the man with the best luck.  In a time when dignity would have been removed with each article of clothing, Jesus remained in control, unwavering in the midst of mockery.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he lovedstanding nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John 19:25-27

After the abuse and torture He endured, after the ridicule and mockery, after the blatant disrespect for who He was, Jesus remained in control, unwavering in the midst of His own death.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:28-30

He was in control, and He never relinquished it regardless of what was coming up against Him.  In the same way, He is in control as I come up against the challenges in my own life.  While watching painfully, I can forget to stop focusing on the situation in front of me, and raise my gaze to the One who remains faithful and unwavering.  In the midst of what we must endure … chaos, mockery and death itself … Jesus remains in control.

Read Day 16 Devotion by Scott

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